Presentation on theme: "Nano(bio)technology: ethical aspects"— Presentation transcript:
1 Nano(bio)technology: ethical aspects Dr. Johann S. AchBioethics Centre (CfB), University of Münster
2 BackgroundWhat is Nano(bio)technology?The futuristic discussionThe realistic discussionIn need of Nano-Ethics?
3 1 BackgroundResults of a literature survey on ethical issues of NBT prepared at the CfBcomissioned by the ethics board of Nano2LifeNano2Life is a European Network of Excellence, 23 partners from 12 European Countriesno in-depth analysis but a study of the current status of the discussion
4 2 What is Nano(bio)technology? „Nanotechnologies are the design, characterisation, production and application of structures, devices and systems by controlling shape and size at the nanometre scale“ (Royal Society & Royal Academy of Engineering 2004)No commonly accepted definition of NT/NBTNT as a toolboxNBT as a toolbox of techniques for analysis, design, synthesis and engineering of organic and anorganic systems at the nanoscale
5 Current and possible applications of NT/NBT current: Sunscreens and cosmetics; composites; clays; coatings and surfaces; tougher and harder cutting toolsshort-term: paints; remediation; fuel cells; displays; batteries; fuel additives; catalystslonger-term: carbon nanotube composites; lubricants; magnetic materials; medical implants; machinable cheramics; water purification; military battle suitsSource: Royal Society & Royal Academy of Engineering 2004
6 3 The futuristic discussion lego-argument: Can we build everything from single atoms? (→ nanobots, nanoassembler)apocalypse-argument: Devastation of men and earth (→ grey, green and black goo-scenarios)?cyborg-argument: men and mashines (→ transhumanism) powerful visions, which will shape the future development of NT, even if there realizabilty is highly questionable
7 4 The realistic discussion Biomedical EthicsEnviromental concernsImpacts on SocietyAnthropological concerns
8 Biomedical Ethicsgap between diagnostic and therapeutic options (→ DNA-chips)discrimination (→ individualization of diagnosis and therapy; → “cultural groups”, e.g deaf community)confidentiality, data protection, privacy (→ nano-sensoric in vivo-diagnostic devices; → technologies that enable rapid identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring through implantable microchips)
9 Impacts on Society equity nano devide intellectual Property dual use (→ military or terrorist ab/use of NT)
10 2001 one third of the budget of the national Nanotechnology Initiative was spent by the Department of Defence.
11 Enviromental concerns impacts on the enviromentrelease of nanoparticles (→ risk assessment; what practical consequences should follow? moratorium? precautionary principle?)
12 Anthropological aspects reductionism (→ the human body as a complex nanomaschine?)enhancement (→ intelligence or sensory ‘amplifyers’)nature of the human being (→ human-mashine-interface)
13 5 In need of Nano-Ethics? Debate on ELSA of NT/NBT is just beginning Many of the ethical and social challanges of NT/NBT are well known from other discussions – butold questions need not necessarily are bad questions – andmany of them appear in a quite new light. Maybe no Nano-Ethics – butethical reflection on NT/NBT – andthe so called converging or NBIC-technologies
14 6 ReferencesAch, Johann S. / Jömann, Norbert: Size Matters. Ethische und soziale Herausforderungen der Nanobiotechnologie. Eine Übersicht. In: Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik 10, 2005 (forthcoming).Ach, Johann S. / Siep, Ludwig (Hgg.): Nano-Bio-Ethics. Ethical Dimensions of Nanobiotechnolgy. Münster: Lit 2006 (forthcoming).Paschen, H. et al.: Nanotechnologie. Forschung, Entwicklung, Anwendung. Berlin/New York: Springer 2004.Royal Society & Royal Academy of Engineering: Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties. London 2004.TA Swiss: Nanotechnologie in der Medizin. Bern 2003.